Intellectual Property Rights in a Fair World Trade System

Intellectual Property Rights in a Fair World Trade System

Proposals for Reform of TRIPS

Edited by Annette Kur

This important new book constitutes a serious examination of both the positive potential, as well as the deficiencies, of the TRIPS agreement. In the light of their analysis, the editors and their colleagues make a powerful case for wide ranging reforms.

Chapter 6: TRIPS and Human Rights

Frantzeska Papadopoulou

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law


Frantzeska Papadopoulou* 1. INTRODUCTION Though the trajectories between human rights and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) have often been discussed,1 their relationship remains unclear.2 This concerns the IPR/human rights interface in general, but also and in particular the way in which the two systems interact in the context of international trade law. Whereas in principle, the objectives underlying IPR and human rights appear as reconcilable or even as congruent to some extent,3 a sceptical to fully negative view prevails on the WTO/ TRIPS Agreement. The report of the UN Commission on Human Rights goes as far as to state that the WTO is “a veritable nightmare” for certain sectors of humanity,4 in that TRIPS in some ways encourages, indirectly leads to or has as a side-effect human rights violations.5 Others posit that human rights principles are also fundamental for the WTO Agreement, meaning that human rights violations automatically constitute violations * This chapter was substantially revised and partly re-written by Annette Kur. Thanks also to Felix Trumpke for his valuable assistance. 1 The literature on the topic is very rich and cannot be fully referenced here. For an overview, see e.g. Yu (2007). See also Okediji (2007). 2 Helfer (2003) at 47. 3 See e.g. Geiger (2006) at 371, 372; same author (2008) at 101 et seq. 4 UN – ECOSOC (2000), at para.15: “Since the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement does not adequately reflect the fundamental nature and indivisibility of all human rights, including the right of everyone to...

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